|Mayoral Forum: Small business|
Yuma Sun reporter Stephanie Wilken asks the candidates what emphasis they place on small businesses
|Mayoral Forum: City charter|
Kim Johnson from KAWC asks the candidates about the city charter and the responsibilities of the office of mayor.
|Mayoral forum: Transparency|
Gaby Gonzales from KSWT asks the candidates how they plan to involve community members in the city's decision making process and asks them to address concerns over government transparency.
|Mayoral forum: Resources|
Yuma Sun reporter Stephanie Wilken asks the candidates what resources they think the community lacks and how each would help bring those resources to Yuma.
|Mayoral forum: Issues|
Gaby Gonzales from KSWT asks the candidates what they feel are the most important issues facing the city and how each would deal with them.
|Mayoral forum: Why mayor?|
Kim Johnson from KAWC asks the candidates why they want to be mayor of Yuma.
|Opening statement: Krieger|
Mayoral candidate Al Krieger gives his opening statement at Tuesday's (8-11-09) forum at the Historic Yuma Theater. There will be a separate forum Thursday (8-13-09) for city council candidates.
|Opening statement: Spencer|
Mayoral candidate Ken Spencer gives his opening statement at Tuesday's (8-11-09) forum at the Historic Yuma Theater. There will be a separate forum Thursday (8-13-09) for city council candidates.
|Opening statement: Kretzer|
Mayoral candidate Jack Kretzer gives his opening statement at Tuesday's (8-11-09) forum at the Historic Yuma Theater. There will be a separate forum Thursday (8-13-09) for city council candidates.
|Opening statement: Everly|
Mayoral candidate Elgin Everly gives his prerecorded opening statement at Tuesday's (8-11-09) forum at the Historic Yuma Theater. Everly was unable to attend the forum due to a prior engagement and recorded these statements for the forum.
|Opening statement: Nelson|
Mayoral candidate and current mayor Larry Nelson gives his opening statement at Tuesday's (8-11-09) forum at the Historic Yuma Theater. There will be a separate forum Thursday (8-13-09) for city council candidates.
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Mayoral candidates highlight priorities
Yuma mayoral hopefuls got a chance to have a direct conversation with the voting public Tuesday night during a mayoral candidates forum at the Historic Yuma Theatre on Main Street.
The four candidates present were Al Krieger, Jack Kretzer, Ken Spencer and current mayor Larry Nelson. Elgin Everly was unable to attend but had recorded video remarks in advance that were shown to the audience filling the old auditorium.
The candidates were asked several questions concerning their plans and policies if elected mayor from members of the local media and from potential voters.
The questions asked dealt with the ongoing issue of feral cats, the management of city assets, taxation, impact fees, tax incentives and current effects caused by a serious recession.
Mayor Nelson said the city of Yuma is doing well overall compared with other communities around the state and nation.
"Yuma is really an unusual place," Nelson said. "When you look at Yuma as compared to rest of the state, we stand out in a number of ways. We are separated and therefore we really have work together to make things work. During these last few years, we have really come together.
"The top priority right now is jobs. No. 1, we need to create the jobs. We do have a lot of people who are underemployed in this community, and we have a need for trade schools.
"The economy of the area is very apparent, but if you look around the rest of the state, you are going to find out we are much better off. I'm not saying we are in good shape, don't misunderstand ... but that is because we work together and do things together in unison."
Krieger said his experience is what sets him apart from the other candidates.
"There are four candidates here tonight, and two of them have absolutely no experience; (they) have not had the opportunity to serve in the capacity that the other two candidates have.
"The next mayor is going to have to listen to what the community is telling the city. I have been listening for the last two years, as well as the four years I was on the council, to what the community is saying. The community is not happy, and from what I have heard, they do not trust the city council.
"Do you want the face that you have had for the last eight years that the people aren't trusting in for another four years? We need a mayor and a city council that you can come and talk to and get a straight answers from, and trust that they are going to follow through on your concerns."
According to Spencer, the issue of unemployment in the city of Yuma is grossly underdiscussed .
"We just do not hear about the 19 percent unemployment rate," Spencer said. "You know I have had so many responses about why we have such a high unemployment percentage rate and it is just unsatisfactory. In fact I had an elected official tell me we had bigger problems than that.
"Nineteen percent is by far one of the highest in the country and it's not being acknowledged. We need to do something to help along these people who are looking for jobs. These are families that need these jobs, and we need to acknowledge that there is a problem before we can even tackle (it)."
According to Kretzer, the biggest problem is uncontrolled spending and excessive taxation.
"Money is what the election is about," Kretzer said. "Your money, my money, our money, our tax dollars. What are you going to spend it on? Everybody wants to give incentives to new paying jobs. And everyone needs a living wage job, but the city of Yuma can't do that.
"Every time the city votes for property taxes ... it is not because they need it, but because they want it to spend it on their tax-and-spend programs. We need to stop that. No more tax and spend. We are going to spend our money frugally. We have to change Yuma with a new mayor who knows where the money is being spent."
Everly, in a recording, said he wants to tackle such issues as heavy traffic, creating cultural centers for local youths and allowing better access to the city for those who want to upgrade their homes.
"I am for responsible development and community service," Everly said. "I also want to create programs that will direct our youth and adults away from gangs and a lifetime as a convict.
"I also want to help citizens who want to improve their homes, and will insist they can be helped by our city staff instead of being told they cannot do so. The committee process should be speedy and assist the homeowner.
"And finally, I am for shop locally. No, not just for groceries, but for hiring people locally to perform local work. You don't have to go outside the city of Yuma to fill city positions."
A second candidate forum for those seeking a position on the city council will be held at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, also at the Historic Yuma Theatre.
To see what the candidates said Tuesday night, play the video above or click on an individual video on the side of this article. The full forum is now available - candidate clips are in the order of presentation at the forum. Click here for more infomation on Thursday night's forum and to view the second half clips.